Comma before: especially, because, when

< Previous | Next >

Learnathon

Banned
English (Japanese American)
Offensively the team is stacked, so they have to work on their defense, because that's what wins ball games, especially in the post season when every position counts and a few stops could be the game changer.

Are my commas used correctly in this sentence?

Do I really have to start a new thread on could/can because I don't know if it's used correctly in this situation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English

    Learnathon

    Banned
    English (Japanese American)
    If you can't find the answer in the many previous threads, yes.

    As to your question, why do you think there might be something wrong with them? Have you looked in the Forum's FAQ (second sticky thread) where you will find Comma thread portal with info, key word links and topic sentences?
    I've looked over the many comma usages and still don't really know if the underlined comma is ok.

    Offensively the team is stacked, so they have to work on their defense, because that's what wins ball games, especially in the post season when every position counts and a few stops could be the game changer.

    With or without the comma between games and especially seem to be okay.. Should I include it anyway?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Here are the possible places commas could be used in the sentence:
    Offensively (1) the team is stacked (2) so they have to work on their defense (3) because that's what wins ball games (4) especially in the post season (5) when every position counts (6) and a few stops could be the game changer.
    Commas at 2, 3, and 4 seem absolutely necessary to me.

    A comma at 1 is possible. Commas at 5 and 6 seem unnecessary to me.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I would leave out this comma:
    so they have to work on their defense<,> because that's what wins ball games,
    so they have to work on their defense because that's what wins ball games,
    .
    A comma is not generally used before 'because'. A comma is permitted if it is useful, but in this case I think a comma may be confusing. The clause because that's what wins ball games is followed by a second comma which may be mistaken for a 'gapping' comma, and that would mean that the clause could be omitted without any change is meaning. This is not the case:
    so they have to work on their defense, [because that's what wins ball games,] especially in the post season when every position counts ...


    A side note on the comma portal
    , for people reading this thread who may not have used it: (Comma thread portal with info, key word links and topic sentences.)

    The second post in the portal lists the CONTENTS:
    The first part of this post links to the MAIN CATEGORIES:
    The second part is an INDEX of words which often are preceded or followed by commas.
    Among the words listed because
    Of the threads that links to, I found the discussion in this thread most useful:
    comma before or after 'because' [conjunction, until, after, before]

    .
    Cross-posted with lucas-sp. I see that we disagree.
    :)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    As an editor, I use a lot of commas. I think that's been well-established.

    That being said, I hesitated over the commas at 2 and 3. If there were a comma at 1, commas at 2 and 3 might not be necessary. 4 is the place in the sentence where a comma is most necessary, in my opinion.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Following your handy-dandy numbering system:

    I would agree on the need for a comma at (4) [games, especially], which I should have said earlier, as that was the OP's specific question. :eek:

    I would put a comma at (5) [post season, when] because 'when' does not introduce a restrictive clause, but one that provides additional explanation.

    I would also have a comma at (6) [counts, and a few stops] because I tend to use commas before 'and' when 'and' introduces an independent clause with a different subject.

    That being said, there is a lot of leeway in the use of commas, and nearly every 'rule' contains the caveat that clarity should be the final guide.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Regarding (5): I think that the "when"-clause so tightly modifies "postseason" that it really, really wants no comma.

    The whole sentence is difficult to punctuate "correctly" because it's so talky and digressive. I assume it's a transcript of someone speaking. In that case, I might just listen to the tape and put in commas whenever there are pauses.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Since I assume there is no other post season during which every position does not count, I disagree about the comma <before> when.

    However, I do agree that too much information is packed into the sentence, which I take to be one written by the OP. I think it could be improved by breaking it down into shorter units.
     
    Last edited:

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I would also have a comma at (6) [counts, and a few stops] because I tend to use commas before 'and' when 'and' introduces an independent clause with a different subject.
    But is it really an independent clause?
    .
    ...when every position counts and a few stops could be the game changer.
    .
    I understand the relative adverb 'when' modifies both clauses here, the first one explicitly and the second implicitly. A relative adverb introduces a relative clause, which is a kind of dependent clause.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top